Queen's Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

New Associate Dean ready to tap the ‘amazing potential’ of growing talent at Queen’s Law       

(July 5, 2018)

Associate Dean Erik Knutsen
Erik Knutsen, newly appointed Associate Dean (Academic), is forming a plan to make the Queen’s Law experience even better as the school moves toward a more creative delivery of various programs.

Two months ago, Professor Erik Knutsen won a top award for his outstanding influence on the quality of student learning at Queen’s University. Now in his new post as Associate Dean (Academic), the internationally recognized expert in insurance law, tort and civil litigation oversees academic programming in the law school that is welcoming seven new professors to its faculty complement, an increase of 30 per cent since 2015.  

During his first week on the job, Associate Dean Knutsen spoke with Queen’s Law Reports about his new role. 

What have you been doing to prepare for your new role as Associate Dean (Academic)?

In terms of preparation, I’ve been meeting with the former Associate Dean (Academic), Professor Cherie Metcalf, who has been most gracious and helpful in the transition. She has done a tremendous job in the last three years and I am in awe of her commitment and professionalism in all she does. I’ve also been learning as much as I can from our administrative team, including Assistant Dean of Administration Deanna Morash and Assistant Dean of Students Heather Cole. We really are fortunate to have such outstanding, committed and creative professionals here at the law school. And I’ve been reading a lot! A lot of the law schools’ policies and procedures and ways of doing things.

As Associate Dean, what will you do first?

First order of business is to get to know the operation of the academic program from the administrative side. That includes, for me, chatting with faculty members on a casual basis to find out where things are at with them, and what ideas they might have as to curriculum or programmatic innovations. We have a growing, cutting-edge program here, and seven new faculty members. There is amazing potential to be supportive of new ideas as we move toward creative delivery of our various law programs. Queen’s Law is really at the forefront in law teaching, and my aim is to push that even further, providing opportunities for our world-class scholars to interact with Queen’s Law students in innovative, relevant and exciting ways.

Which aspects of your new role do you look forward to most?

I most look forward to learning about opportunities where it might be possible to make students’, faculty’s and staffs’ experiences better. Sometimes, it only takes a very small and often cost-free move to dramatically improve a thing. I’m excited to learn from my colleagues, students and staff about what we could do to make this wonderful law school even better.

What are your top priorities for academics at the Faculty? 

My top priority is to get a lay of the land as quickly as I can, particularly with respect to how we might set about on a path to make some modifications to our academic programs for the better. That means creating opportunities to do a lot of listening, which I’m excited about. I’m proud to work here and I’m very fond of the friendships I have across faculty, staff and students. There is an amazing collective good here waiting to be tapped. I look forward to learning from others about their vision for the law school. I find that notion inspiring, as people often have incredible ideas for things but simply need the opportunity to voice them and some support to help them come true. While we cannot be all things to all people, I suspect there is a lot of wisdom here to be tapped already. Our Dean, Bill Flanagan, has already led the way in this with new programs offered to new audiences like our undergraduate and graduate certificate program, exciting new courses like the Trade Law Lab and experiential learning opportunities, fostering the use of dynamic teaching technology like live polling and online interaction, and of course ushering in many new and vibrant faculty.